What’s on TV This Week: An Obama Documentary and ‘Shiva Baby’

What’s on TV This Week: An Obama Documentary and ‘Shiva Baby’
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What’s on TV This Week: An Obama Documentary and ‘Shiva Baby’

What’s on TV This Week: An Obama Documentary and ‘Shiva Baby’

Between network, cable and streaming, the modern television landscape is vast. Here are some of the shows, specials and movies that will air on TV this week, August 2-8. Details and times are subject to change.

BABY SHIVA (2021) 9:55 p.m. on HBO. A funeral gathering becomes a pressure cooker in “Shiva Baby”, a claustrophobic comedy by Emma Seligman that mixes sexual tension, chatter and pickled fish. Rachel Sennott plays Danielle, a college student who visits a family friend’s shiva with her parents (played by Fred Melamed and Polly Draper). Danielle finds more than heartbreak in it: apparently bereaved include both her sugar daddy (Danny Deferrari) and his ex-girlfriend (Molly Gordon). The result, Jason Bailey wrote in his review for The New York Times, is a comedy “as tense as any thriller.” It’s rare, Bailey added, for a film to “simultaneously balance such divergent tones, intermix big laughs with heart-wrenching unease, but Seligman does.”

Point of View: PIER KIDS (2019) 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). Filmmaker Elegance Bratton follows three queer and transgender New Yorkers of color who frequent the Christopher Street Piers in Manhattan in this documentary. Shot over a five-year span, “Pier Kids” is informed by Bratton’s own life experience – as a teenager, he was kicked out of his mother’s house for his sexuality. He found solace in the community that formed on the docks and that he documents in this film. “Home is where you are most deeply understood,” Bratton said in an interview with The Times in 2018, “and Christopher Street Pier is my home.”

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OBAMA: PURSUING A MORE PERFECT UNION 9 p.m. on HBO. Director Peter Kunhardt, whose work includes Martin Luther King Jr.’s documentary “King in the Wilderness,” delves into the life and legacy of President Barack Obama in this three-part documentary series. Interview subjects include Rep. John Lewis, speechwriter and podcast host Jon Favreau, New York writer Jelani Cobb and former White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. The first part of the series, which airs Tuesday night, covers Obama’s youth; the second two episodes will air simultaneously on Wednesday and Thursday.

A MAN CALLED ADAM (1966) 6 p.m. on TCM. Sammy Davis Jr. and Cicely Tyson star in this musical drama, which tells the story of a fictional jazz player (Davis) who gets back on his feet with the help of a civil rights activist (Tyson) and his grandfather, who is played by Louis Armstrong. TCM presents this work of fiction alongside several other films starring Armstrong, including the documentary SATCHMO: THE LIFE OF LOUIS ARMSTRONG (1989), released at 8 p.m. HIGH SOCIETY (1956), which airs at midnight and places Armstrong alongside Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra; and JAZZ ON A SUMMER DAY (1959), released at 3 p.m., a classic concert film starring in Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson and Thelonious Monk.

GET OUT (2017) 8:20 p.m. on FXM. Writer-director Jordan Peele caused a stir about a week and a half ago when he shared a poster revealing a mysterious new movie called “Nope.” This film should be released next year. In the meantime, consider revisiting “Get Out,” the movie that made Peele a horror filmmaker. Daniel Kaluuya plays Chris, a black photographer whose journey to meet the family of his white girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), turns into both an entertaining horror show and an allegory about racist violence. He’s an “incredibly smart and scary freakout,” Manohla Dargis wrote in her review for The Times.

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FALL (2020) 6 p.m. on Showtime. Viggo Mortensen probed his own memories of caring for family members with dementia in “Falling,” his debut as a writer-director. Mortensen acts here, too: he plays John, a middle-aged man whose sharp, sectarian father, Willis (Lance Henriksen), is in cognitive decline. Willis travels to live temporarily with John, Eric, John’s husband (Terry Chen) and Monica, the couple’s daughter (Gabby Velis). The experience is sometimes warm, sometimes burning. “Some scenes scratch your senses like sandpaper, while others are so tender they are almost unsettling,” wrote Jeannette Catsoulis in her review for The Times. Henriksen, she continued, is “the incendiary heart of a film that ultimately turns out to be more involving – and rather more complicated – than we would expect.”

JAWS (1975) 9:15 p.m. on AMC. When that original “Jaws” movie came out in 1975, Times critic Vincent Canby called it “a loud, busy movie that’s less on your mind than any kid on a beach could have.” Of course, it was a success. “Jaws” helped define the era of blockbusters, alongside the “Star Wars” films including THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980), which will be broadcast at 8:30 p.m. on TNT. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, the figureheads of these two franchises, then collaborated on the film Indiana Jones THE RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981), which coincidentally will air at 5:50 p.m. on Paramount Network.

UFO 9 p.m. on Showtime. About a month after a Pentagon report sparked renewed interest in the subject of unidentified aerial phenomena, Showtime will launch this four-part documentary series about our long-standing fascination with potential alien sightings and the state of conversations on this topic. Fittingly, the show’s executive producers include director JJ Abrams (“Star Wars” and “Star Trek”).

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